Sesame Street Welcomes a New Friend

Elmo, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch will be welcoming a new friend to Sesame Street!

Julia is a little girl with bright orange hair, green eyes, a toy rabbit and has autism.

She was featured in a 2015 "Digital Storybook" along with other fan favorite muppets, but now she will be a featured character.

She was created to boost awareness about autism so that when children encounter those with autism in real life, it will seem familiar rather than unusual.

Show writer Christine Ferraro says when developing Julia they made sure to consult with autism advocacy organizations to ensure they were showing the condition in an accurate and respectful way.

"It’s tricky, because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism...I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism. I would like her to be just Julia."

The pupeteer who will control Julia, Stacey Gordon, as a son with autism and she says the character will be helpful for kids.

"Had my son's friends been exposed to his behaviours through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened...they might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way, and that that's OK."

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